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The Sheriffs of Hamilton County
Portrait of Sheriff J.F. Shipp

Joseph F. Shipp was born on February 3rd, 1845, in Jasper County, Tennessee. On April 12th, 1861, he ran away from home and enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private. His father was able to find him and take him home, but Shipp was later allowed to rejoin the Army of Virginia.

In the Battle of Malvern he was severely wounded. For his numerous acts of gallantry and bravery in the face of danger, Shipp was promoted to the rank of captain, a title he held throughout the war. Later in his life he joined the United Confederates Veteran’s Association and served as the organization’s Quartermaster General until his death.

At the end of the Civil War, be was discharged from the Army and returned to his home in Georgia. There he became involved in many successful business ventures.

On August 12th, 1866, Shipp married Lily Eckles, and they moved to Chattanooga where he became involved in the manufacturing business. By 1893, Shipp was known as one of the wealthiest citizens in Hamilton County.

In the early 1890s, Shipp was appointed Coal Oil inspector by Tennessee’s Governor Peter Turney. In 1900, he was elected as tax assessor, serving until 1904, when he was elected as sheriff of Hamilton County. Shipp also served as a member of the Board of Alderman and on the Board of Education, though he had little formal education. In addition, Shipp was active in the Board of Trade and the Chamber of Commerce. After serving two terms (1904 to 1908) as Hamilton County Sheriff, he was again appointed Coal Oil Inspector on April 18,1923.

After a brief illness, Shipp passed away on September 18,1925, at his home on Lookout Place. He was laid to rest in his Confederate uniform.

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